🌈Yes, I am Autistic; I Discovered This At 33.

adventure, Africa, Antarctica, Anxiety, Art, autism, beauty, Big Chop, courage, Depression, Education, explore, faith, family, Foreign Language, Hair, Health, Health, wellness,, Lesson Planning, love, Mental Health, music, Music Class, Mystery, natural hair, Podcast, special needs, stroke, Teaching, travel, Uncategorized, Wellness, worldview

🌈E X P R E S S I V E #autism

“You’re doing too much.”

“You be doing the most.”

“You’re a lot.”

“Why are you so extra?”

“You shouldn’t have asked that.”

“Did you just say that?!”

“Sit down, Kris.”

“Tone it down.”

“Your posts are too long.”

“You’re too old to be using rainbows.”

“That’s just Karissa.”

“Relax your face.”

Conformity.

Conformity was never my cup of tea. I’ve sipped several times, but it never tasted quite right. Typically, that lukewarm bitterness always found itself spat out.

I couldn’t deal with the box. It never fit.

However, because of my “packaging” I got away with a lot. Yes, because of how I look and my language, I never got evaluated, never showed severe enough signs to even be suspected. Why? Mimicking. Modeling. Copying. Con. Form. Ing.

Never found out I was on the autism spectrum until the age of 33. I’m talking months ago, y’all. Never had a clue.

Throughout my life, I watched and studied everyone and tried to appear #normal—whatever that is; I tried to blend in.

But…

•from my tantrums in front of the tv (Dad shut that down before he went on leave to Alaska #DoItOneMoTime)

•naked streaks in the home (got to pick that up when he left and it was just all girls)

•cussing volcano (ask my brother KaDar or my sisters about that one day.)

•disdain for eggs, pancakes, macaroni and cheese, grits

•shyness mixed with stuttering

•bouncing a little extra while my sisters and I sang

•sensitivity to certain materials, textures, jewelry, scents, and ingredients

all proved that I couldn’t just blend in. Apparently it didn’t phase me too much.

However, my stimming emerged in different ways. Sophisticated stimming is what I now call it.

I learned how to manage it. Learned how to cope.

Part of my coping with my #extraness happened through various activities and from childhood until now.

Odyssey of the Mind

Forensics

Cheerleading

Free Spirit Show Choir

Marching Band

Concert Band

Basketball

Volleyball Camp

Tennis

Track

Clubs, offices, councils and societies galore

Souls A Fire Gospel Choir

Frontline at ORU

Songwriting in seconds

Speedy Math Skills

Modeling

Acting

Drummer

Author

Speaker

Substitute Teacher

Learning “foreign” languages

State Praise Dance Choreographer

Toastmasters

Exploring all seven continents

and those are just a few that helped me #LetItOut.

So if you came into my life mid-song, I must share: the treble and bass that God put in my soul ain’t going nowhere.

I’ve learned that my sophisticated stimming allowed me to “blend in” in this world. However, I’m interested in raising awareness about the autism SPECTRUM. Not just one side. All. Of. It. It is deep and diverse. After counsel and evaluations galore, I’ve been congratulated and celebrated for this discovery.

Let me be clear: I am not an expert. I am not a licensed medical professional. I chose Special Education as my major for three years. I changed it and graduated with a BA in International Community Development with two concentrations in Special Education and Teaching English as a Second Language. I’m challenged to search and study more now. Back in the day, girls easily got overlooked because of their social skills. Just look up “Autism in Females: How is It Different?” on YouTube. I cried through it because it was all me. Thanks to Special Education teacher Kelsey at G. Stanley Elementary for introducing me to that video. Thanks to Darius for telling me about Temple Grandin. What an inspiration!

Will I be the voice for non-verbal autistic peeps? Absolutely not. They, in fact, have their own voices. WE simply have to listen to HOW they speak.

I look forward to sharing my voice and journey about how I functioned WITHOUT the label for 32 years.

Slap the autistic label on a child; no problem. Just make sure that when you explain autism to a child—if you dare—you explain that they carry superpowers, are genius in their own way, and that YOU are willing to WORK to draw out the genius, to fan their flame, to exercise extreme patience, and to respect them enough to study and learn them.

Faces were scratched out if the students left mid-year. I was at a school full of other military brats like me. I’m clearly the one leaning in the pink.

One of the key elements of blackness is resilience. So on this seventh day of Black History Month, I can’t help but applaud this little resilient girl who used a combo of faith, fire, and imagination to get to this point. I applaud my mother for helping me figure out some things and make modifications for me knowing my challenges, but not my diagnosis. She got me the right creams, gave me instruments, non-nickel jewelry, and didn’t force things in my diet like dairy. I applaud my father for influencing me to suppress the tantrums. I applaud him for being the only living parent to say these words: “Yep, I could see that. It makes sense. I’ve always told you that you were a genius.” I applaud those who fanned my flame. I applaud the teachers who told me I was gifted and special.

I applaud those who laughed at me; I also admonish them to stop the madness; I challenge them to look at the gifts in a person with curiosity instead of judgment; I nudge them closer to research instead of ridicule; I push them nearer to advocacy instead of teasing.

#LetsGoDoBe

P. S. If you’re looking for a diagnosis as an adult, it may be difficult, but the best place to start is in the school district in your area. They can direct you accordingly. You can also look up autism groups in your state or region. They’re rising up now more than ever.

#Rom12v2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” 

Bat Caves & the Root of Offense

adventure, Art, beauty, courage, Education, explore, travel, Wellness, worldview

#BatCaves

The ROOT of the offense doesn’t come from an organization, institution, or individual. The ROOT is the enemy. Consider “Satan, the Lord rebuke you.” instead of toiling over an organization, institution, or individual. Whose power is greater? As believers, WE are operating from a place of victory. Additionally, “Faith without works is dead.” Thusly, in order to sufficiently align ourselves with the Word, we must be strategic and diligent with our prayers AND actions!

Scripture and tactics to consider:

1. Put on the whole armor of God. (Eph 6:11-18)

2. Know Satan’s devices. (2 Cor 2:11)

3. Give him no place (Eph 4:27).

4. Resist him. (James 4:7; 1 Pet 5:8-9)

5. Be sober and vigilant lest he devour them. (1 Pet 5:8-9)

6. Overcome him by the Word. (Matt 4:1-11 1 John 2:14)

7. Overcome him by the blood of Christ and testimony. (Rev 12:11)

8. Overcome him by Christ and His name. (Eph 1:19-22; 2:6; 2 Cor 2:15)

9. Overcome him by birth of the Spirit and faith. (1 John 2:29; 3:9; 5:1-4, 18)

10. Overcome him by the Holy Spirit. (Rom 8:1-13 **especially verse 6** Gal 5:15-26)

P. S. I used this bat cave from here in Turks and Caicos Islands for two reasons and one reason that I’ll share:

The bats were offended by the bright light, just like humans are when it’s being shone brightly in our faces and when the Word corrects us. It’s often difficult to process with a carnal lens, but much more palatable with a spiritual one.

Feeding a Giraffe—with My Mouth

adventure, Africa, explore, love, Mental Health, Mystery, Teaching, Wellness, worldview

✨BRE🦒KFAST, anyone?✨

🦒Is there anything that freaks you out? Anything that just the thought of it makes your stomach turn? Anything that you said you’d never do? Anything that makes YOU look crazy?

😛I never thought I’d feed a giraffe with my own mouth, but I never knew I’d be given the opportunity to either. There’s a host of things we say we’ll NEVER do, but when opportunity knocks, our tune may quite possibly change.

🦒Today, DISCARD some of those NEVERS and FEED into some new MYSTERY, some new ADVENTURE—some #WILDLIFE.

#LetsGoDoBe

😛Tag someone who needs to be shaken up this morning.

P. S. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

P. S. S. Much love to my #InstaMom @travelingblackwidow. Before I went to bed last night, I screenshot my pic my giraffe feeding for this morning’s post. I logged on this morning and I saw her post and was like 😍. Go check her out! 🦒

P. S. S. The tongue of the giraffe felt like SANDPAPER!

A Stroke THEN 7 Continents BEFORE 30 PODCAST

Anxiety, Depression, Education, explore, faith, family, Foreign Language, Health, Health, wellness,, Lesson Planning, Mental Health, music, Podcast, stroke, Teaching, travel, Uncategorized, Wellness

So here’s the deal:

I got to meet this remarkable young man who I shared a stage with at the Leadership Africa Summit this summer. Tayo Rockson invited me to speak on his podcast called “As Told By Nomads” which is not only sweeping the nation, but the entire world.

Check out the 👉🏿 podcast 👈🏿 to hear how I had a stroke and then STRUCK back.

Ciao for now!

Karissa

sevenby30.com/books

International Day of the Girl

Anxiety, Depression, Education, explore, faith, family, Foreign Language, Health, Health, wellness,, love, Mental Health, travel, Wellness, worldview

#InternationalDayOfTheGirl, let’s talk. 💋👇🏿

#StrokeSurvivor #TBT

This year marks 11 years since life struck me with a (mild) stroke.

It also marks…

• my Jesus year (33)

• 15 years since I graduated from high school.

• 11 years since I learned to write, speak, and walk again.

• 11 years since being sexually assaulted by my former boyfriend.

• 1 year since I truly forgave him and apologized for my attempts to tarnish his name.

• 9 years since I became a licensed evangelist missionary.

• 7 years since I graduated from college—four years “late.”

• 7 years since I took my first trip abroad.

• 6 years since I moved to China.

• 4 years since I moved to Saudi Arabia to teach at the largest women’s university in the world.

• 3 years since I made it to my 7th continent, Antarctica.

• 2 years since I wrote my first book.

• 2 years since my Mom got diagnosed with cancer.

• almost 3 months since my Mom went back to Heaven.

But daily,

I’m reminded that

I

HAVE

SURVIVED

EVERYTHING.

And guess what, girl?

You got this too.

No matter what life tosses your way,

slide on your gloves—lace or leather, and crush it with both hands.

You’re not just a survivor.

Not just a winner.

But you’re a girl.

And let me tell you,

WE have the POWER

to START and end wars,

to INFLUENCE and BIRTH nations.

to ENGINEER the most magnificent architectural masterpieces,

to TEACH and instruct with limitless intellect,

to CHANGE flat tires, diapers,

and the WORLD.

We were made well.

We were made slowly.

We were made last.

And you know what they say about the best. Yep, they’re always saved for last. 😘

But ladies, let’s be FIRST at walking together.

Let’s contend, not compete.

Let’s march together, girls. Let’s go. Let’s do. Let’s be.

#LetsGoDoBe ✌🏿❤️

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” #3John1v2

With Deep Love and Extreme Gratitude,

💋Karissa Denae Johnson

#BeforeAfter by Terrence Alexandre

🌟 #GloryToGod 🌟

✍🏿 karissa@sevenby30.com

S😭W 👉🏿 RE🌟P

Anxiety, Depression, faith, family, love, Mental Health, Wellness, worldview

S😭W 👉🏿 RE🌟P

Flip through the pages of 2018. Page after page you’ll see lots of light and laughter, yet heaps and loads of heaviness and devastation.

Let’s be honest. It’s not been all bad. There’s been a host of good things too. While I was inches away when my Mom took her last breath on earth, I found joy in the support of other friends who lost their mothers this year.

While domestic terrorist attacks and horrific violence plagued(s) our Nation and world, songs of healing and restoration follow quickly to be released in the earth.

Weeping truly MAY endure for a night, my friends. But there’s something so sneaky about JOY. Like the sun, it comes in the morning.

Be strengthened, party people. Know that it’s morning time. And we gon’ be aight.

#LetsGoDoBe #GoodMourning #Arise

L💋VE y’all.

👉🏿Karissa Denae

P. S. …………..Dear 2019,

…………………………….Brace yourself.

C😭URAGE

Antarctica, Anxiety, Depression, explore, faith, family, love, Mental Health, Wellness, worldview

I remember telling my sister @ladykroach, “I don’t think I can do this.”

“Just go up and tell your story and then it’ll all be over.”

This #TBT is from Creative Mornings this past spring. I was WILDLY depressed and suffered with EXTREME anxiety.

My topic: COURAGE.

The hosts didn’t know. The audience didn’t hear me say it. I got up there and spoke on bravery, Antarctica, exploring alone, blah, blah, blah.

But that blah, blah, blah ignited a ton of fire in a room full of people. All from a woman who didn’t recognize herself anymore.

I lost my identity while caring for my mother as she fought #lymphoma. My GREAT accomplishments of reaching my goal became a quiet whisper as I was divinely assigned to care for her. From Aug 2017-May 2018 I battled depression for the first time and anxiety in HEAPS like never before.

HOWEVER

I rose.

I pushed.

I prayed.

I spent time in nature.

I believed.

I received counsel.

I had therapy.

I cried in my Mom’s lap.

I exercised.

I ate well.

I prayed.

I cried in my pregnant sister’s lap.

I read the Word.

I exercised.

I meditated.

I got counseling.

I prayed.

I went up for prayer.

I spent time in nature.

I worked.

I booked speaking engagements.

I wrote.

I prayed.

I forgave myself for being too hard on myself.

I looked in the mirror and smiled.

I’ve learned the agenda of the enemy.

He desires to get into my HEAD to STOP the work of my HANDS.

If he can get in your head, your hands will stop. Your feet will stop. You’ll be frozen, paralyzed—unproductive.

BUT when you understand his strategy, you LEVEL UP with YOURS.

You do the work to BLOCK and BRUCE LEE KICK those thoughts away and combat them with DECLARATIONS and the TRUTH.

Today (if you’re still reading),

take the time to share this with someone who may need a LIFT or some encouragement. Let them know that a girl who traveled to all seven continents before the age of 30, came back home and fell FLAT on her face—and then RELENTLESSLY bounced BACK. And they can too.

You can not only BOUNCE back, but you can get your BOUNCE back.

LEAN on each other and LOVE on each other. That’s why we’re here.

#GoDoBe

💋Booking: karissa@sevenby30.com